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What We Can Learn About Life from Games with “GameTek” feat. Geoff Engelstein – 128

Episode Overview

In this week’s episode of Board Gaming with Education, Dustin is joined by co-host Rodger Moore and guest Geoff Engelstein to talk about the interrelation between games and other aspects of our world. Join Dustin, Geoff, and Rodger on this discussion of board games for learning.

  • Episode Topics
    • Board Gaming with Education Introduction: GBL Conference – 00:00
    • Welcome Rodger Back to the Show – 2:34
    • Who is Geoff Engelstein? – 6:39
    • Geoff’s Definition of a “game” – 8:52
    • The Magic Circle of Games – 5:51
    • Connecting Games to Life – 14:58
    • Rulebook Writing and Developing Skills – 17:42
    • Everyday Encounters with Psychology in Games – 19:55
    • Rodger Rejoins the Conversation – 30:21
    • Dustin, Rodger, and Geoff play Wits & Wagers – 41:13

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gengelstein

Thank you to Purple Planet Music for the wonderful contribution of their songs “Soul Train” and “Retro Gamer” for our Sponsorship and Interview Segments. These songs can be found in full on this music archive. Also, thank you to Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) for his creative commons 4.0 contribution of “Getting it Done” for our Game Segment.

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Board Gaming with Education Introduction: GBL Conference – 00:00

The Games-Based Learning Virtual Conference is the premiere professional event for designers, educators, entrepreneurs, and instructors, for games, games-based learning, gamification, serious games, and simulations.

Use coupon code “BGE” for a discount and help support our community!

Welcome Rodger Back to the Show – 2:34

Dustin welcomes Rodger back to the show to discuss today’s topic: “What We Can Learn About Life from Games.” Join Dustin and Rodger after the conversation with Geoff to discuss this topic further.

Rodger’s Email: rodger@boardgamingwitheducation.com

Who is Geoff Engelstein? – 6:39

Geoff Engelstein is an award-winning table-top game designer, whose titles include Space Cadets, The Fog of War, Pit Crew, and The Expanse.

He is also a noted podcaster. Since 2007 he has been a contributor to the Dice Tower, the leading table-top game podcast, with a series on the math, science, and psychology of games. He has also hosted Ludology a weekly podcast on game design since 2011, and has published several books on gaming design, including the recent Achievement Relocked and Game Production. He teaches game design at the NYU Game Center.

Geoff’s Definition of a “game” – 8:52

Geoff defines “game” for the context of the discussion:

…my basic definition of a game is, is an activity where there are some rules of conduct, that kind of get in the way of you doing whatever it is, you’re trying to do the most efficient way. And that typically, but not always has some sort of conclusion or, you know, end goal.

The Magic Circle of Games – 5:51

Dustin and Geoff draw parallels between the magic circle found in games and other areas of society like classrooms and other group settings.

What is the magic circle?

“The ‘magic circle,’ and this is kind of paraphrased from Game Studies Wiki is a unique space of play that games provide. So for example, within that game, certain rules make sense in the game, but really have no effect on the outside world. For example, in the Game Studies Wiki they use the example of playing tag. So if you’re playing tag, and you touch someone on the shoulder they are ‘it,’ right? We know that as a rule in the game of tag. But actually, if you touch someone on the shoulder in real life, it doesn’t mean you’re ‘it,’ right? It’s not a rule of our world, that everyone follows unless we’re playing the game of tag. And what’s really cool about the ‘magic circle’ is there are some certain unwritten rules that the groups follow within game environments, or within other environments.”

Connecting Games to Life – 14:58

Geoff talks about his experience with games and the book

loss aversion and random positive feedback.

Rodger Rejoins the Conversation – 30:21

Rodger rejoins the conversation with Dustin and they chat about some of the insights that Geoff had to share.

Dustin, Rodger, and Geoff play 5 Wits & Wagers – 41:13

Dustin, Dave, and Geoff play Wis & Wagers.

What We Can Learn About Life from Games with “GameTek” feat. Geoff Engelstein – 128

Transcript automated and provided by otter.ai. [Using this link helps us continue to use this transcription service for future episodes.] Disclaimer: This is an automated transcript and may have errors in grammar, wording, and/or word choice.

Dustin Staats 0:00
In this episode of Board Gaming with Education, I’m joined by Jeff angle Steen. And we talk about how games can relate to other aspects of our life. And I mentioned this in the episode and I want to say it here too. If you are interested in how games impact a larger world, I would check out anything that Jeff does, he has a book called game tech, a really, really awesome resource. And as well, that book is also a podcast. He does different segments on the dice tower podcast, and he used to be the host of the loot ology podcast. And before we get into the episode, I want to share with you something I’m going to be attending this spring, it’s a game based learning virtual conference. It’s hosted by the game based learning Alliance hosted by also University XP, the goal of the conference is to connect academics, educators, designers, researchers, creators, and professionals in a space to discuss and share best practices using games, gamification, and game based learning for teaching, learning, training, education, and develop and what I really like. And I’m actually submitting a panel for this. And really, the idea that I really like the driving theme behind this conference is looking at games as a medium for teaching and learning as a way for developing a more connected and empathetic world. Specifically, how we can do this in the midst of the pandemic. And I know, as an educator, if you’re listening to this, or as a parent as whatever way you kind of are interacting with the world right now. I think we all know and we can all say that empathy is something that really is important during this time. And I believe and the conference, I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of other presenters are going to share and show how we can use games to encourage empathy and connection. If you are interested in submitting a proposal You have until March 6 to submit one. Or if you’re just interested in attending, you can go to gbl conference.com. And you can use the coupon code BG, ie, that code will get you a discount, and it will help support the Board Gaming with Education community. So again, gbl conference.com, and the coupon code is big. Alright, let’s get to the show.

Board Gaming with Education 2:17
Board Gaming with Education, a podcast for anyone curious about how games and education mix, we explore various topics like game based learning, gamification, and board games, and the impacts they have on learning. here’s your host, Dustin Staats.

Dustin Staats 2:34
Welcome to another topical episode of Board Gaming with Education. we’re chatting with Roger, thank you again for joining us this week.

Rodger Moore 2:42
Yep. Glad to be back again, Dustin.

Dustin Staats 2:44
And then we’re also joined by Jeff here in just a moment, we’re going to be talking about what we can learn from games, or what we can learn from life from games. And he’s written a book about this. So I’m actually super excited to have this conversation with Jeff. And if you want to do anything and learn anything about how games interrelate with life, Jeff is the guy to check out. He did a podcast on lead ology through the dice tower, and we’ll talk about that in episode. And I know Roger and I were chatting a little bit about what episode you really liked was that episode, Roger. He’s always

Rodger Moore 3:16
done these little snippets in the dice tower podcast for four years and years and years. And, you know, it’s like I said, it’s, it’s a lot of that has to tie back to, you know, some correlation to life and the thought process and psychologically, you know, how we’re responding and games, what they’re doing to us and whatever. But yeah, the one that I thought was really interesting was a episode that they did back in March of last year, people are interested, it was Episode 649, of the dice tower. And he got into this, it’s one of those fascinating segments, I think I heard him do but it was a, it was a story about the women who are using wargames to develop new anti submarine tactics during World War Two, and how effective they were at coming up with these these new strategies to deal with, you know, the submarine problem that the United Kingdom and the Allies we’re dealing with, you know, early in World War Two, but yeah, it was absolutely fascinating. I think it’s also was based off of a he took some of the stuff from a book, which was called the game of birds and wolves, the secret game by that revolutionized the war by Simon Parkin really, really cool stuff really makes you think about things. And I think it was just like, there’s a great example of a game kind of a gaming element that, you know, kind of had a big impact on a, you know, world event,

Dustin Staats 4:45
for sure. And I think one thing that you and I both know, and maybe some of our listeners are aware of that games are everywhere, and we use them for so many things all the way from, you know, simulations or simulations or models. Un is kind of like a game to even as as we grow up, that’s how we experience the world through play. So I’m excited to chat with Jeff. And we’re going to talk about these things. Before we get into the episode of that conversation. I mentioned something at the beginning of this episode, which is the game Based Learning Conference. And that’s gbl conference calm. Jeff will be talking there. So I’m excited to go to his, I guess his talk on a topic at the conference. And I know that more information will be coming out about the conference soon. And you can go to GPL conference calm. That’s hosted by Dave, who has been on the show a few times. And you can use the coupon code BGP for a discount on that conference. And it helps support our show, too. So let’s listen to Jeff. And then we’ll come back, Roger and I will have a little bit more to talk about the topic.

All right. Welcome to another topical discussion of Board Gaming with Education. I am thrilled to be joined by Jeff Finkelstein today. He is actually one of the guests that I really wanted to have on our show. I think his podcast was one I really started listening to when I first got into podcasting gaming podcast. I’m excited, Jeff, you are a award winning tabletop, game designer, and author and you have a new book coming out. And we’re actually framing our discussion based on your book game tech. And you’re also a professor at NYU Game Center. Would you mind introducing yourself a little bit more and sharing a little bit about how you got into games in game design?

Geoff Engelstein 6:39
Sure. Well, first, thanks for having me, I’m excited to be here and always happy to talk about games. But you know, I mean, just my history in gaming, I you know, it goes all the way back. You know, when I was growing up, I used to play lots of games, always as a family. And actually, in high school design some video games, I had a few published games on the apple two, which I enjoyed but doing but never really, you know, followed up much on the video game front and, you know, spent a lot of time you know, playing and, and learning new games and stuff like that all through through college and after I got married, but I got involved in podcasting in the early 2000s. And talking about games and, and a theory of games and kind of analytically looking at games, which ultimately led to the ology podcast. And just as part of that process of thinking about games and how games are designed and trying to dissect them, and particularly the psychology of games and the way that they relate to other things in the world. You know, I decided to Hey, why don’t I try to take something this and design my own games, and so kind of went into that, and enjoyed that aspect of it almost as much as talking about games. And so I’ve continued to, to design and from that, you know, wrote books about game design, and, as you mentioned, also teach the classes that over at NYU Game Center, which all of which has really deepened my appreciation for game design, and made me realize how little I and all of us actually know about people’s relationship to games,

Dustin Staats 8:09
right. And I’m excited to chat more about how you came into that idea of looking at games through different life lessons. Reading game tech, and I’m not. Math is not my forte, my background is English language, teaching English language arts, and kind of looking at some of those, I guess, lessons that you’ve learned through math of games is really cool, or applying math into games. Before before we get there, though, I want to kind of frame our discussion by defining the topic of a game, we’ve defined this a few times on the show, and everyone has their different perspectives on this topic. But for the sake of our conversation, maybe it’d be good to kind of have your definition of what is a game,

Geoff Engelstein 8:52
my definition of game has kind of evolved over the years. But currently, my basic definition of a game is, is an activity where there are some rules of conduct, that kind of get in the way of you doing whatever it is, you’re trying to do the most efficient way. And that typically, but not always has some sort of conclusion or, you know, end goal. You know, the classic example of course, being like golf, you know, if if your aim is to get a ball into a hole, there are a lot easier ways to do it, then all of the restrictions that golf puts in place or soccer trying to put a ball in the net patrolling that to use your feet. You know, games are about the the restrictions that we place on activities, and the way that we all agree to adopt that these are the rules of behavior. So that that’s sort of my broad definition, which, you know, I find interesting, just kind of sociologically, of why we enjoy doing that and also how that goes into other areas of human behavior, like, you know, governments and societies and religions and clubs and you know, there’s so many different things where we agree to adopt a set of rules that define how we’re going to behave in an activity and towards each other.

Dustin Staats 10:04
Right. And that’s, that’s interesting. A couple points there is, I think, when I’ve interviewed game designers that are, I don’t know if this is maybe just my experience, but that I have been doing it for a while. A lot of times, they’ve said their definition of a game has evolved over time, it’s changed, and it’s actually opened up to include more things than they had originally imagined. But also, you mentioned how in society, we follow a set of rules. And that’s something I had mentioned to you in our emails, what I think super interesting is that magic circle and looking at the magic circle of a game, and applying that kind of how we decide in a game environment, what is beyond the magic circle, and what is not, and also how that applies to you as teachers in our classroom and how we can kind of set up that guess discussion for our students?

Geoff Engelstein 10:52
Yeah, definitely, um, you know, I think that’s a it’s, it’s a very powerful human nature to try to, you know, to fit in and to, to kind of have a group set of rules and have that sort of group identity. And one of the, you mentioned game tech, so just for those that aren’t familiar with it, I’m on a podcast called the dice tower. And I have a little five minute segment that I do called game tech, which links games to society in math and psychology, or vice versa, just kind of uses them to illustrate each other. And one of the things I talked about a couple years ago was the distinction in terms of the magic circle between

Dustin Staats 11:32
future Dustin here and just really quick, the magic circle. And this is kind of paraphrase from game studies, wiki is a unique space of play, that games provide. So for example, within that game, certain rules make sense in the game, but really have no effect on the outside world. For example, in the game study, wiki, they use the example of playing tag. So if you’re playing tag, and you touch someone on the shoulder there it right, we know that as a rule in the game of tag. But actually, if you touch someone on the shoulder in real life, it doesn’t mean you’re it right it, it’s not a rule of our world, that everyone follows unless we’re playing the game of tag. And what’s really cool about the magic struggle is there are some certain unwritten rules that kind of groups follow within game environments, or within other environments. And so let’s get back to the chat where Jeff talks a little bit about the magic circle,

Geoff Engelstein 12:27
the distinction in terms of the magic circle between somebody who is a cheater, right, and a cheater is somebody that pretends to follow the rules, but really doesn’t, versus what I termed the heretic, which is somebody that just sick rejects the rules outright. And it’s like, I’m not even in this system, I’m outside the system completely. And that traditionally, societies or Egypt’s, in any group of people is that we treat the heretic much harsher than the cheater, you know, even even though the cheater tends to be subverting it, but at least you know, we prefer to be with people that at least pretend to go along with the magic circle, and don’t pop it completely, as opposed to people that are just outside it. That’s a you know, this magic circle is silly. And I’m not even participating at all, that that’s, that’s much more, you know, psychologically damaging to people. And I think a classroom environment is kind of similar as well. So I mean, everybody wants to kind of be part of it. And if you kind of create that strip, that that structure, you know, even if people cheat, they, they’ll do it within the system in a way.

Dustin Staats 13:33
Right, I’m thinking about the students who are trying to get away with doing certain things. Definitely catching on.

Geoff Engelstein 13:40
Yeah, and they’re always there. But the, you know, I mean, the more successful ones pretend to go along, and then just, you know, rather than just outright, you know, just refused to do whatever, just, you know, stand up and go out of the bed, you know, whatever, they’ll pretend to have a past rather than just reject the whole path system.

Dustin Staats 13:55
Right. Right. And it’s it’s funny because I think for me, as a teacher, I kind of think about some I quote, unquote, favorite students. I know we’re not supposed to have favorites, but the ones that I kind of guess get a kick out of or really enjoy being around, are the ones that are kind of maybe the quote unquote cheaters or rule benders my glasses. Awesome. So one, one thing I want to ask is you you started thinking about this idea of games or life lessons through games. I know in my experience, trying to think back of when I first maybe looking back when I’m thinking about a game and when I learned something through playing a game was probably monopoly and counting backwards, and how that actually ended up applying to like a real practical job working at a restaurant through the drive thru. And I’m learning how to count backwards to move the cars through the line quicker. But I’m wondering for your experience, When was the first time you see either saw a life lesson through game or you decided that there is an avenue to explore there?

Geoff Engelstein 14:58
Hmm. It’s an interesting question. I You know, I certainly when I, we started playing diplomacy, I learned that certain people that I didn’t think we’re capable of lying turned out to be very, very good at it. So that was, that was interesting. But yeah, I mean, in terms of, you know, kind of connecting it larger to life, rather than playing games, it rather than coming from within games, I mean, there was two things that really kind of spoke to me, kind of outside the world of gaming, although the first kind of is related is the book called girdle Escher, Bach, by Douglas Hofstadter, where he takes a lot of different things, you know, he has, in the, in the book, there’s, there’s little plays that are done and there’s there’s, you know, little little games and activities that you play or whatever, but it’s but it’s all in the service of this larger concept of how of girdles incompleteness theorem, which we won’t go into but and how that relates to ushers art and box music and how they’re all connected. And the idea of taking these different spheres of you know, what are usually taught discretely and pulling them together is very powerful to me. And I saw the same thing in this TV series back in the 70s, called connections, and also the ascent of man was was from the same team where, you know, they kind of traced these concepts or, or made like, you know, you have this thing over here and this thing over there, and you think that they’re totally different. But by drawing connections between them, you can reveal a deeper truth. And I’ve always been fascinated by that. And, you know, when I was approached with the idea, you know, or had the idea of to try to do some podcasts, I was kind of naturally drawn to, you know, hey, yeah, I mean, reviewing games, or whatever, a lot of people do that. But what I’d like to do is try to take games and explore this idea of connections with other with other things. And when I first started it, I thought maybe I was doing these game tech segments, you know, maybe I could do 50 of them, that I could find something interesting to talk about. And, you know, I’m still doing it now, you know, 15 years later, and I’ve done hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of these things. And I’m just finding it a bottomless well to explore of the way that games illustrate so much around us.

Dustin Staats 17:07
And that’s, I mean, that’s so true. And I like your, your example of mentioning that you had thought there’s only 50, but then found out there’s a bottomless pit. And I’m, I feel like I’m in the same boat, doing this podcast and kind of learning about games and how we can align games with learning outcomes, and then looking at even soft skills that you can use in games for developing soft skills. And it’s a it’s a lot. Yeah,

Geoff Engelstein 17:30
yeah. Yeah, I have a business as well that I run, you know, and I’ve 100% I’ve taken lessons from games in terms of how to structure business proposals and to negotiate with people and stuff like that. There’s, there’s a lot,

Dustin Staats 17:42
right, that’s so true. I mean, I mean, just thinking about my experience, too, and rulebook writing, I mean, being able to write a clear, concise rulebook that the player can understand is very important for explicit instructions as a teacher,

Geoff Engelstein 17:57
and superduper. Hard, you know, so I mentioned that I started with video games. And after I did my first one, I was doing my first game, I thought the rulebook was going to be the easiest thing, writing the rules be the easiest thing, because I’ve written computer computer programs forever, right. And that’s what a game is, right? I mean, that’s what rules are, is you just break down the structure of the activity into smaller and smaller tasks, until, you know, each, you know, in essence, each line of the rules is one line of your program. And I was very, very wrong. And, you know, I don’t come by my mother was a teacher, I until I kind of came into teaching later after I did the game design. But you know, that was when from going through that and seeing people try to decipher my rules that were written like a computer program, and functionally everything was there. But I realized that, you know, the way that rules need to be written not just to list the rules, but to teach the rules and to guide the players and to give them landmarks, you know, you start at a very high level to kind of map out the territory, and then you drill down and drill down, and you got to make sure that you keep everybody oriented. You know, and this is all stuff that of course, is you know, well developed in educational theory over the years. And I kind of rediscovered it the hard way. So yeah, it’s the rules. Writing is is a whole other discipline that also is way more complex than I realized at first glance.

Dustin Staats 19:15
Right. Right. We were recently just talking on the podcast about using rules to scaffold the game or then comparing that to given instructions for an activity. But yeah, I think that’s a great parallel to draw. Yes. So I want to ask two are kind of talking about some interactions with our experience in games, but if we are maybe a casual gamer, I’m someone maybe who plays a few modern board games. I played a few. Or maybe I’m really into hobby board games, but I don’t really design games. What might be some lessons are some things I can see through our everyday interactions that might also appear in games,

Geoff Engelstein 19:55
one of my favorite areas and is a psychological phenomenon called loss aversion. And this is another thing that kind of came to sideways, I didn’t just also learn about loss aversion, I started doing game texts and doing kind of different little psychology things and talking about different interesting research projects. And as I started exploring it, I realized that all of them had sort of a central theme. And it turned out that that that theme had actually been discovered and named back in the 80s, and 90s. And named a loss aversion. And, and the core idea of it is that if you get, say, I find $20 on the street and pick it up, I’m gonna feel good. If I get home and realize I accidentally dropped $20 on the street, I’m gonna feel bad. But the magnitude of the feeling for losing $20 is worse than the happiness I got a gaining $20. So the losses in our mind outweigh gains, and that little psychological quirk of humans, and there’s a lot of exploration into why evolutionarily we would have developed that way or whatever. And there’s a lot of stuff that makes sense, but but, you know, it’s, it’s been well established, I think, when I, when I say that to people, you know, they naturally say, Oh, yeah, you’re right. You know, it’s, I definitely feel that and, and that bleeds into so many aspects of life, from how we approach risk, from how we, how we can frame things to other people. So if you frame something in terms of gains, you know, gaining a lot versus gaining a little versus, you know, losing a lot or losing a little, or give people little nudges along a road, like if I give somebody if I give somebody the first couple of steps in a journey, they’re much more likely to finish that journey. You know, there’s been studies with coupon books and things where if you give somebody a coupon with a couple of pre punches, versus a coupon with no pre punches, but still the same number of punches left to finish it that people are much more likely to finish the the punched coupon, because they feel like if they don’t, they’re kind of losing something, right? They, there’s, they’re invested in a way. And so there’s a lot of psychology, that all comes back to loss aversion. And it’s one of those things that once you you hear about it and start thinking about it, you realize that it’s everywhere, but you don’t, you know, you don’t pick up on it right away. And you’re still going to be prone to it when you know about it, but at least you know, you can reflect on your your actions and things and have a little bit more self awareness about why you’re choosing to do certain things rather than other things.

Dustin Staats 22:33
Right. And I wonder if there’s a a maybe correlation or parallel to people that have a high tolerance for risk in their experience with loss aversion, because I imagine those that are willing to kind of invest upfront that they might lose something they’re comfortable with for the thing that they might gain in the future. Just thinking from like an entrepreneurial mindset is kind of entrepreneurs are more willing to kind of throw some stuff in with the risk that they might lose it, but in the long run, hopefully gained something from it.

Geoff Engelstein 23:06
Yeah, I think that that’s, there’s a good point. And studies have shown for sure that people can be trained out of it. Like, if you’re a stockbroker, and you do something over and over again, then, you know, you, you start to lose that same feeling that you do, if you’re just a home investor, it becomes it, you know, you see things in a different way. But yeah, also, you know, everyone has different risk tolerances. And, you know, typically, with these kind of studies, it’s, you know, it’s never 100%, right? It’s like 8020 is like a huge result versus, you know, you know, you’re never going to see something that’s 100% of what people are going to do. So it’s always going to be a tendency. But yeah, there’s there’s a whole industries that have gone up around this, you know, casinos go to a lot of trouble to reduce loss aversion, right. That’s why they give you chips, instead of Have you played with real money. That’s why you can change money for chips at the table, but you have to walk all the way across the casino to turn your chips back into money. That’s why your chips are only good at one casino, and you can’t carry them to another casino and use them. They’re right that there’s there’s all this stuff that’s designed to make you abstract the gains and losses. So that it doesn’t trigger people’s kind of innate feeling about that.

Dustin Staats 24:20
Right. Right. Yeah. Then it kind of reminds me of, I play some poker and like, shuffling my chips, I kind of get, I guess, attached to them, I suppose to. So when might we encounter a game like elements that we might see in our everyday life that we might not have noticed in the first place?

Geoff Engelstein 24:41
Well, you know, there’s a lot of loss aversion stuff, but you know, a lot of things. I don’t think they do anything, I guess they still do it. But one of my favorite examples was, you know, like, loyalty clubs, right, loyalty cards and points and stuff like that. I mean, those are all basically games Pinera when they introduced their program. I really kind of thought It was interesting because the way they do it is you know a lot of things they say like for every, you know, 200 points you get, you get $5 off your next purchase, or whatever it is right? And Panera didn’t do that, right? They, they said you every time you get a visit randomly, sometimes you’ll get an award, sometimes you want. And so it basically became like this big slot machine, you know, and sometimes they say like, you know, sometime within your next three trips, you know, you’re gonna get a reward, but and you also never knew what the reward is gonna be, it could be anything from an entirely free meal to just a cup of coffee, or a bagel or something. Right. And so that was gamification in a very, I won’t say underhanded, but, you know, certainly manipulative way. Because that kind of random reward has consistently been shown to be the most addictive type of reward, which is, of course, how slot machines work is a you know, the, you never know when you’re gonna get the payout. And that that just makes it that much, that much, that much more attractive, and much more that you’re going to want to go back and keep trying and trying and trying until you get that little dopamine hit. So that’s that’s one example that I always find intriguing. That’s, that’s out there in the real world that they kind of Gussy it up as a loyalty thing, but don’t treat it as much as a game.

Dustin Staats 26:19
Right? Right. Yeah, there’s, there’s a lot of different loyalty programs, I know that one that is kind of, I guess, not so much of a loyalty program, but kind of has to do with the same randomness expectation with because my wife and I lived in Taiwan, and they did a lottery system for receipts. So whenever you purchase something, you had a number that you can enter at the end of two months, to see if you won some money. And as a way to incentivize businesses to make sure they’re keeping their their sales, their receipts on the books, because if someone’s not getting their, their ticket to the lottery, they might go let the government know, they’re not following the protocol. But yeah, at the end of the two months, we check I mean, we won, I want to say we won probably about $100. Over the three years, we’re there, so not like, crazy amount, but you tend to win, like three to $5 every two months with them. So I want to ask, maybe before we go into our game, if someone is wanting to kind of grab some life lessons out of games, what are some things you might tell them to pay attention to? Or kind of consider?

Geoff Engelstein 27:27
You know, I think there’s a lot of lessons just in general that we can learn. I mean, I think it’s really important to expose children to games. And you know, I think that if you think back on the first games that we teach kids, they barely fit the definition of a game. Oh, they fit my definition. But Candyland. And games like that are really have zero choices. You are, you know, there’s not even any real randomness or the initial shuffle the deck in Candyland, you just you flip the card, and you do what it says and Chutes and Ladders, you know, you spin the spinner and you do what it says. And some people like turn up their nose and say, you know, it’s crazy. Why do we bother doing this? It’s just, you know, a waste of time, you’re just doing it. But, you know, there’s there’s critical stuff that’s in there. Like, you know, taking turns, how do you take turns? And how do you wait for your turn, just a simple thing of you know, winning and losing. And dealing with that gracefully, you know, and sometimes for based on what we see in the public sphere, you know, there’s plenty of people that either forgot about that lesson or haven’t really taken it to heart, you know, and then from there, you build up and you start learning about, you know, tactics and strategies, and then you learn about planning is another critical thing, you know, when you start getting into some more advanced games is okay, this is this is the goal, this is what I’m trying to do, what are the steps that I need to do to get there and, and then, you know, ultimately, you know, you get into when you get into more complicated things of trying to understand systems and the way that things interact with each other and, and, you know, even the social, the soft social things of negotiation, and, you know, trying to convince somebody to attack somebody else, instead of you that you’re not really winning, you’re actually you’ve looked like you’re winning, but you’re not really winning. So it’s really, you know, games are in many ways, a microcosm of larger society, but they’re in a more manageable bite size way because it’s, you know, you know, what the goal is their time bounded, you know, there’s there’s more definitive rules for what you are and are not allowed to do. There’s certainly plenty of really good lessons to be drawn from from playing games from a very young age. Right.

Dustin Staats 29:32
I agree. 100% I think one thing too is, is the low stakes environment of a game right? We have we have, you can simulate the oh my gosh, I’m trying to blink. What’s the honestly United Kingdom but that’s not the word. I’m looking for the United

Geoff Engelstein 29:49

Dustin Staats 29:50
Oh, yes, ma. I don’t know why I couldn’t think of that word. It’s podcasting brain. But yeah, the Model UN where it’s it’s a very low stakes, environment, and kind of Go through that process of what it looks like, but in a game like environment. All right, Jeff, stick around for the game. I’m gonna have a follow up discussion about our chat with Roger, and then we’ll be back to play our game.

All right, and we’re back. So Roger, you listen to that conversation? What was maybe one thing that really stood out to you? Um,

Rodger Moore 30:29
I think Jeff always brings up a lot of really interesting points. I think, kind of like the psychological points that he pointed out, like, you know, how we respond to things, particularly about the I’ve had some of the the gambling examples he gave, particularly like, you know, you find $20, as opposed to losing it, that the losing is far more, has far more of a negative psychological effect on you compared to the positive psychological effect that you have for gaining that kind of money. And then how the casinos and stuff do those sorts of things, and being in a state where that’s one of my primary industries, I’m not super interested in, obviously, because I’m, I’m, I’ve been around it, you know, and like, Oh, you go gamble? No, I don’t, it’s not really that interesting. But it is games. But I guess it’s just, there’s something about that, that type of gaming. That just doesn’t, I don’t know, capture my interest as much. I don’t know what the reasoning behind that is. But but it is fascinating. The psychological things that this that the casinos do, right, to get people to do things. And I mean, that’s all a lot of it’s all by design, whether people realize it or not, right? I mean, because the sense is to keep you playing, so that you’re spending more money, and they’re making more money. I mean, they’re a business, they’re, they’re obviously trying to make money. I mean, you could even give the example of one of the things that I know a lot of them do is that, you know, the drinks are free. And obviously, now, when you start combining the effects of alcohol, you’re not, you’re not gonna make as good a judgment. So you’re going to continue to dump more money in the machine. So as long as you’re, as long as you’re sitting at a, some type of a, you know, if you’re sitting at a table, you’re playing a machine or whatever, I mean, that drinks are free. What’s one of the things it’s not in a casino that you don’t the some object that we concert with you? You don’t they don’t have them anywhere?

Dustin Staats 32:32
It’s a clock.

Rodger Moore 32:33
Yeah, they don’t have those. There’s no clocks anywhere. And I mean, obviously, they don’t have, you know, the way they’ve designed them to where there’s not like Windows to look outside, just so that you, you get lost, you know, where you don’t see anything, and they, you know, they want you to lose track of time. And I don’t think it’s like a devious Mo, you know, there’s anything devious there. It’s just, that’s the way they’re going to keep you engaged, you know, to continue to keep playing. I mean,

Dustin Staats 33:04
we look at casinos, and that’s very high stakes, high stakes games, that’s not really games, games will use an education. And, and one thing I had kind of went down this road, because it’s true, there’s a psychological link between some things that are in games that also are in what can see casinos take advantage in gambling. And that’s that attachment to whatever. You know, Jeff had mentioned the attachment to the $20 bill. And one thing when I looked into developing worlds XP, which was a gamification toolkit was looking at these positive aspects of gamification, and kind of steering away from some manipulative aspects. Because there is there are a lot of ways to manipulate human behavior in gamification. And one thing I really liked to do with that kid was, and this is a parent, I’m surprised we didn’t talk about an episode is apparent in RPG games is creating your character. Because when you are the one responsible for creating your character, you grow more attached to that character, and you’re more engaged in playing a role playing that character. And it’s true, I mean, even video games like I’ve been playing this NBA game, and you can create your own person and you design like its face, its hair, facial hair, you design all that. And so just going through that kind of process you grow more attached to, to the character, and I think a lot of games are able to employ some of those things. And I know, even just choosing your color, that’s kind of something that probably low level attachment to the game to well,

Rodger Moore 34:34
you mentioned that but I honestly doesn’t, I think that’s what the huge appeal of Dungeons and Dragons is now and I think people that had been playing it, you know, before it hits become so much more common, like people are very much more aware of it, you know, in much more of a positive sense. I mean, it did have some negative stuff that went with it. You know, initially, it’s certain points, you know, while the game was being played, I think that’s more because of particularly technologies and social platforms and things have brought it to light where people were seeing people playing it. And now, you know, people that wouldn’t even have maybe been like, Oh, that looks really cool. I want to try that. And all of a sudden, that’s caused this huge boom, you know, and that, but I think that’s that appeal is that creative process? Oh, I get to make something that’s me. And I get to customize it. And, you know, maybe I get a step out of my reality, and be somebody that I’m not, or pretend to be somebody I’m not. And it’s it. That’s what the appeal is, you know, and I don’t see that diminishing at all.

Dustin Staats 35:41
Right. Right. So anything else maybe to talk about before we move into our game?

Rodger Moore 35:47
Yeah, I think real quick. The other thing I thought was really interesting, that he mentioned was the thing with Panera that they weren’t doing the points, they just said, well, you may get a reward if you come in and that how that not knowing, kind of thing, same gambling kind of psychology that casinos use, you know, was super effective and getting people to come in like, Oh, well, what are the next three? Who I might get something? What is it gonna be? You know, it’s just that that just lures people in? You know? And I mean, that’s why I think even like the lottery and all that stuff as well. You know, like, Oh, well, you know, I’m just gonna draw a couple of bucks. You never know. You know?

Dustin Staats 36:27
Right, right. I mean, that’s, that’s another that’s another manipulative aspect of gamification is the random effect of receiving something positive is much more addictive than always receiving something like a positive feedback.

Rodger Moore 36:42
And I wonder, I wonder, sometimes some of the games that are really successful that that’s, it would be interesting to look at? Or do those games have kind of those aspects in them? Or to all games? Is that kind of inherent, you know what I’m saying? Like, does that game got that thing where that’s why it’s so popular of a game, because of that, kind of that reward system or something similar that they’ve got baked in there? Either by design or not by design? Right? I don’t know. Right?

Dustin Staats 37:11
I think it depends on the game, it kind of reminds me of something. I’m a game I downloaded on my mobile phone recently. And I was just, you know, scrolling through, I think it popped up on Facebook. And it looked like this game that I used to play a while ago. And I was like, okay, maybe I’ll check this out. So I downloaded it, the first couple times I played, it was super easy. And then it got a little bit more difficult. And now it’s really hard to get back up to the high score that I originally got. And I went and looked at some of the reviews in the game. And a lot of people were saying the same thing. Like, they wonder if in the design of the game, they make it easy when you first play so you get hooked in to, to wanting to play and wanting to do better. And then every once in a while you get a good game, because maybe it’s like a block game. You’re like combining blocks together. And maybe they give you could block to be able to perform better. Every once in a while. I wonder I don’t know. I mean, I wonder?

Rodger Moore 38:08
Well, you know, and it just just to kind of springboard off of that. I mean, it. I mean, there’s been studies and stuff that have been done. And I mean, that’s a book that I read a few years ago, I thought was really interesting. McGonigal is the author reality is broken, I believe is the name of the book.

Dustin Staats 38:25
Yeah, I think I think and

Rodger Moore 38:28
yeah, and but what she was saying like you’re saying, well, like getting some you in there something easy. That actually what one of the according to her in what she talks about about in the book is that it’s really that losing and not beating that thing, or whatever is really what hooks people in, you know, that like you’re actually not being successful, is actually really more rewarding and actually kind of addicts people into those things more and more and more, because like, Oh, well, I didn’t get it this time. But you know, I’m going to try it again. And I didn’t get it this time. So I’m going to try again, you know, and it just gets you you know, totally psychologically hooked, you know, and just plays into our you know, like he’s like Jeff mentioned that reward system, you know, even though that’s the negative but somehow that had a positive effect. It’s it’s really interesting.

Dustin Staats 39:22
Yeah, I think I think it depends on the player, I would say I mean, like most things, and I like those games. I don’t know, I think there’s a term for it, but it’s, I know the video game series, Demon Souls and Bloodborne are kind of known for this kind of brutal, tough game that is very difficult. Once you die, you go back to the beginning, like the old school video games like Mario and stuff. Once you die, you’re all the way back to the beginning of the Marvel game.

Rodger Moore 39:48
Or that says even like de Diablo, or Well, I remember I played the original Diablo, you know from Blizzard It was like that, like if we were homebrew. We didn’t have my friend of mine. A friend of mine and I used to play landline stuff because that was the only way to play multiplayer and we get on the, you know, phone or whatever, and we hook it through a landline. But while we were playing together there, if you lost on any level, it kicked you right back to the beginning, you’d have to go through, like we get like halfway or three quarters all the way through the thing and Oh, crap, we’re both dead. And we have to start completely over. So yeah, same same kind of idea.

Dustin Staats 40:25
Yeah. And I don’t I don’t know. I think I played the third one. I don’t know if I played the second one. But in the first one did you also lose your like your all your equipment and gold and stuff, and you had to go back to go get it? Oh,

Rodger Moore 40:36
yeah, yeah, Mm hmm. Yeah. I think it was like that with when you’re playing multiplayer with somebody. Yeah. You like you lost like everything. Like it was over. Or it got like stuck down there where you were like it left it laying there or something along those lines. So yeah, I’d have to. Yeah, you lose all your gear. And you go, oh, gotta completely start completely over. We don’t keep everything we have. We got to start from square one.

Dustin Staats 40:58
Right. I had. So Roger, let’s move into our game.

All right, so we’re gonna play wits and wagers. And I already played this game with Jeff, again, if you choose or if you say your answer, and it’s closer than Jeff’s answer, that’s one point. If you decide to change to a different answer, and that answer ends up being closest, it’s one point or you can double down on your own answer, and end up scoring two points, if that’s closest. So the question I have for you, is, what is the most someone has paid for a video game, publicly?

Unknown Speaker 41:51
Oh, wow.

Rodger Moore 41:59
I’m gonna go 150,000.

Dustin Staats 42:02
All right, 150,000. And then I have three other answers that you can choose from, so you can choose to double down or switch. But then my three other answers are $103,000 $1.3 million. And $150,000. You said 150, right. Mm hmm. So you have one of them’s the same. And then you have 1.3 million or 103,000. So you can choose to double down on yours or switch?

Unknown Speaker 42:35

Rodger Moore 42:37
can I just stay with the one that I have? Or I have to double down?

Dustin Staats 42:42
Yeah, I mean, if you cuz one of them’s one of them’s the same, I guess. So you could, I guess you could, you could double down, you would get the points anyways.

Rodger Moore 42:51
Yeah, I’ll just double down on I’ll double down on mine.

Dustin Staats 42:55
All right. And one, listen, let’s listen to Jeff’s answer first. Oh,

Geoff Engelstein 42:59
it’s gonna be really high. Because I think there’s been some obscure cartridges, you know, cartridges and Nintendo type stuff that have come out. I’m gonna say $12,000.

Dustin Staats 43:11
Alright, so $12,000. And then, depending on whether you are closer, or the co host will score a point here. But then my three other answers are $103,000 $1.3 million. And $150,000.

Geoff Engelstein 43:30
So you can so I am way off. That’s a conclusion we’re drawing here. Maybe it was you’re really, really gaming the system. So what were those numbers? Again? 1.3 million,

Dustin Staats 43:40
$103,000 $1.3 million, or $150,000? Okay, so you can choose to double down on your answer, or choose one of these three answers for point. And if you double down on your answer, it’s two more points.

Geoff Engelstein 43:58
Okay, I’m gonna I’m gonna switch. I think I’m gonna switch to

Dustin Staats 44:01
103,000 103,000. And the answer is 114,000. So you score point there, that is the closest, so you for sure have one point ends up tying the co host or not. So we’ll find out when I record at a later date. Okay. And then the game is actually Mario. So you’re right. It was a obscure cartridge and just a rare classic version of 1985. Mario, I guess the one that was sold before was also another copy of Mario 400,000. So

Rodger Moore 44:33
yeah, well,

Geoff Engelstein 44:34
I’m in the wrong line of business.

Dustin Staats 44:37
I think so Jeff went with when he went with $12,000. I thought he went a little bit higher than that, but now I’m listening to his answer back again. So in your your, you stuck with yours? So the final answer is, okay, so Jeff, switch to 103,000. So it looks like you score 30 points and he scores one point, because his is actually closer to 103 that he’s switched to. But no, wait, no. Yeah, he would win even when one point, right? Yeah. I’m still I’m still figuring out the rules in my own game.

Unknown Speaker 45:19
Oh, he’s he’s closer.

Dustin Staats 45:22
Yeah. 114. And he’s 183. I switched.

Rodger Moore 45:27
He’s 12,000. And I’m,

Dustin Staats 45:30
yeah, but I was thinking because you had 100 you’re doubling down. But that doesn’t count because you’re still not closest.

Rodger Moore 45:35
I’m still learn in my own 36,000 away. He’s only

Dustin Staats 45:39
it’s it’s tough because I’ve tried to like, how do I play this on a podcast? I. And before we have one last chat with our guest, Jeff and Roger, the co host for this episode. I know we have some designers out there in the audience. And I’m trying to navigate this post COVID world, just like everyone else out there. And I’m curious, because I had taken the game wits and wagers and created it for the podcast episode. I’m curious to hear from you. Because we have we’re gonna play this couple more times on the show. curious if this in these rules make sense. Reach out to me if I can, you know, modify anything. It’s a little late now. But moving into season 12. I would love to hear from you. Or if you have any other ideas for games, we could play on the show. Reach out to me podcast at Board Gaming with education.com. Awesome, Jeff. So thank you again. And before you go, would you mind sharing a little bit about your book and then also any other projects you’re working on? Or where our listeners can reach out to you?

Geoff Engelstein 46:41
Sure. Well, my latest book is called game production, prototyping and producing your board game. So that’s available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble or wherever. And it’s it’s rather than talking about game design, it talks about the physical aspects of like how you make a card and how you make tokens and and how you deal with printing and production and stuff like that. So it’s it’s an area that I get a ton of questions on all the time. So I thought it was good to do. And I’ve got a my latest game out is called Super skill pinball, which is a board game version of pinball, which has four different pinball tables in the pack. And we just announced a new expansion called the superscope. pinball wrap it up which is going to be coming out over the summer. So I’m excited about that.

Dustin Staats 47:25
Awesome. So thank you so much again, I know I learned a bunch from you coming on the show. And thank you again for coming on.

Unknown Speaker 47:31
Thanks so much for having me.

Dustin Staats 47:34
Roger, thank you again for coming on the show. And if anyone wanted to reach out to you, how could they do that?

Rodger Moore 47:39
I think probably just Roger at Board Gaming with education.com. That emails, probably the best way to get a hold of me. My name my personal Twitter’s are more at evolving more. I mean, that’s, that’s another one where I kind of more, kind of keep it to that I have a couple other Twitter accounts, but they’re not really tied to this stuff as much.

Dustin Staats 47:58
And you’ve been working on our Kickstarter calendar, which is super awesome. Any any good games that have been added there recently?

Rodger Moore 48:07
You could take a look. I mean, there’s there’s I haven’t seen them go live yet today. But there’s a couple of Kickstarters one of them’s called auction web, it looks. It’s definitely kind of like a finance sort of game. And then there’s another game called oil town. which fits in history and social studies. And I’d also mentioned to Korra request with somebody on Facebook pointed out on when I went and looked at as great was Dan and Cora been on the dice tower before and he’s to do a segment but it was a game that she designed. And it’s kind of fantasy themed or whatever, but to try to get people to feel more comfortable. It was really cool. But that ends tomorrow.

Dustin Staats 48:54
Oh, jeez. So after this will be this will be released after so maybe they will have some late pledges.

Rodger Moore 49:00
Yeah, well, they’re probably have I would imagine, I’ve liked pledges and stuff, but it’s done really, really well. Yeah, I went out a couple other things

Dustin Staats 49:09
before I mean, just core requests that was actually really cool because it’s a father daughter that they project they did during lockdown. And recently they’re on BBC interviewed for their game. So yeah, it’s it’s really cool, clever idea. And essentially, you can go on to their website and upload your own drawings and then print them and then use them in the game. Because the whole idea was her daughter had done a lot of the art and then they had other other kids, you know, submit artwork for the game too. So really cool idea really clever aspect or take on kind of dungeon crawler game.

Rodger Moore 49:49
Right. Right. Right. Exactly. It’s really cool that she she kind of designed it and stuff. So I mean, that’s definitely one of there’s a couple more I could just mention other ones called Chamber of wonders. It’s kind of a socialist. Daddy’s style game, kind of a British, you’re playing and playing that role like British members of the aristocracy. And then on the 26th supposed to get a genotype a Mendelian genetics game from genius games. That was a Kickstarter, but it’s getting delivered. I think it’s that’s the day it’s supposed to go to retail to from what I understand. But that’s like a, this game that they’ve done about genetics, which is based off of, you know, Gregor Mendel. And so you’re kind of doing stuff with the pea plants, you know, how the Punnett squares and all that kind of stuff work. So it looks, it looks really cool.

Dustin Staats 50:39
That’s awesome. And then you can go to Board Gaming with education.com backslash Kickstarter dash calendar, to check out the calendar that Rogers put together. And essentially, it’s not all the games on Kickstarter, right? We are curated towards mainly games for learning that we can use maybe to, to kind of teach something or just a great family style game. So you’re not gonna find stuff like Kingdom death monster.

Rodger Moore 51:05
Yep. And if somebody Yeah, somebody sees something in our Facebook group, and like, that individual told me about it, I threw core requests up was a great idea. You know, let me know. I mean, I try to catch everything I can, but I certainly probably miss things, you know, from time to time. Right.

Dustin Staats 51:22
So thank you again. Thank you again, Roger, for coming on. And we’ll be back.

Rodger Moore 51:25
Yep. Yeah. Thanks for having me on Dustin. Appreciate it.

Dustin Staats 51:31
Hey, and before you go, did you know if you go to Board Gaming with education.com and sign up and register an account with our website, you’ll receive 500 edgy gamer points that is a rewards based system for our community. So sign up Board Gaming with education.com create an account 500 edgy gamer points that is equal to $5 off your purchase any purchases you make in the store. And as always, if you have any questions, comments, concerns, suggestions, reach out to me podcast at Board Gaming with education.com. All right, and I will see you or hear from you or you’ll hear from me next week.

Board Gaming with Education 52:15
Thank you for listening in this week. If you liked what you heard, be sure to let us know you can find us on social media as Board Gaming with Education or BG games or email us at podcast at Board Gaming with education.com. If you want to support our podcast, be sure to check out our support page on our website. As always teach better learn more and most importantly, play more. Thank you for listening and until next time,

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